Why did Russia send T-90A, and not T-72B3 to Syria?


Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

11th December, 2015

Journal of Mordovia

The end of 2015 was marked by the fact that the most modern of the armaments of the Russian army, the T-90A tank, was used for the first time in a war. Despite the fact that the terrorists have already posted a cheaply made Hollywood style video with the “destruction” of such a tank to Social Networks, it is too early for serious talk about the performance of the T-90A in a state of war. 

However, military experts have already noted the fact that the T-90A went to war, and not the budget modernized T-72B3 that continues to support the army ever since the establishment of the helm of the Military Department of the former leadership of the Ministry of Defence. It is not surprising: the T-90A has a more powerful description of the frontal zones. Mounted on the tank is a complex optical-electronic suppression system, which is able to neutralize existing militant anti-tank missile systems. The T-72B3 does not have these “curtains”. The mechanisms of protection of the T-72B3 equate to the level of, at best, the second half of the 80’s.

The tank crews who participated in the first Chechen war insistently demanded that the tanks were equipped with closed machine-gun installations, such as is present on the T-90. But officials in cosy offices did not understand the risk to the tank commander if they were to climb out of the hatch, under the crossfire of bullets and shrapnel, and open fire from the mounted heavy machine gun.

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The “Ainet” system of remote detonation is installed on the T-90A. “Journal of Mordovia” has already spoken about the principle of its operation: the gunner of the tank, with a laser sighted range-finder, performs measurements of the target’s range (the purpose may be to calculate positions of ATGM, infantry in trenches, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, helicopters hovering, etc.) Before the shot is fired, information on the target’s range enters the “Ainet” fuse system, and when the projectile is in the right place, it is detonated in the air.

If one were to compare the efficacy of conventional high-explosive projectiles, “Ainet” increases it by three times. The firing range is 4 km. Beside the use of conventional high explosive shells is the use of ammunition with ready-striking elements. This increases the tank’s efficiency even more. 

Unfortunately, the “Ainet” system is also in use on the T-72B3. As a result, a paradoxical picture is created: the troops are using a tank that is significantly inferior to the majority of the characteristics of not only the latest Korean and Chinese tanks, but even the Polish “Leopard 2A5”. The T-90 in its latest version has a number of modified systems (including air conditioning) that are now exported, including to our neighbours.

As for the T-90A in Syria, we previously mentioned that the current war machines there urgently needed additional measures to protect the side and the rear, which as a result,  would increase the efficiency of such tanks even more. Let’s not wait for unnecessary losses. 

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